There’s some frontal censorship, and a couple of chances for redraws. Mostly though, this series continued to be about cleavage and tight clothing to the very end.
(left click for gallery view)
First off, let me say that I’d put the odds of nudity in this series in the category of “punchers chance.” It could certainly happen, but if it did it would be at least somewhat unexpected, and it would probably happen just once or twice.
The most likely occurrence for nudity would be the ritual to revive Jin Varel (nevermind the fact that these are, at least at the time, dead girl boobs). Her chest is shown repeatedly in episodes 10 and 11 during the ritual, and in some cases you can see how the black flames move around but never waiver from her nipple areas, which is mildly suspicious. It would be very easy to modify this on blu-ray for nudity and Gonzo has proven in the past that they aren’t afraid of awkward nude scenes.
In episode 13, which is a total throwaway episode committed mostly to fanservice, both Elle Karen and Dan Roana lose their flimsily constructed tops to the mere forces of gravity. Elle Karen is totally exposed giving a nice show to the fishmen she encounters, but the view for us is just barely blocked by her folded fan.
Dan Roana never completely loses hers but a lot of skin is shown. Many anime such as Super Robot Wars and Maken-Ki! Two have taken very similar incidents and made them R-rated on blu-ray, it really just depends on what Gonzo wants to do with this episode.
Even the final episode didn’t feel all that ecchi. For as lackluster as the story of Blade and Soul may be, for as pointless as the plot of the final episode was, it still felt like story came before service even at the very end, even when the story was absolutely meaningless. That’s not a bad thing for a good anime, but for a series like this that was marketed to newcomers for its sex appeal, I question that approach. Yeah, it’s based on an MMO, but even the game is built largely on T n’ A appeal.
But, until we see the BDs we can’t really know how far this series will take things. The violence level in the early episodes would easily give this show an R+ type rating anyway, and Gonzo is famously not shy about explicit content. And as mentioned before, each BD will come with a disk special of some sort, and the odds are pretty good that at least a few of them will center on fanservice. It’s very possible that the anime could be non-nude, while a couple of the specials go there. Such a scenario is far from unprecedented.
The fact that it is based on an MMO lowers the odds dramatically, but it wouldn’t be the first to add nudity to such an adaptation (It’s not a perfect example, but even .hack//sign managed a nipple sighting during one of the DVD specials, though the .hack//sign anime was produced concurrently with the games and the games themselves were console based single-player games).
As far as the anime goes… one comment I hear a lot is “thanks for blogging this so I didn’t have to watch it.” I think with some nude-ecchi shows, like Dragonar Academy, those of you who skip it are missing out a little.
But Blade and Soul… it was everything I thought it would be except less. In particular, this anime has the worst art I can ever remember seeing from a modern-era full season series. My respect for Gonzo is intact, but the budget for this show must have been insanely slim. The entire anime looked as if it was drawn by inbetweeners and interns working perpetually behind schedule.
But, if this show gives just one pair of bare boobs, all is forgiven.
Hopefully this anime can redeem itself on blu-ray. The odds say it won’t, but here’s hoping.